Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Venture Bros. S6 - The Return of the Funniest Show Ever about Failure.

The Mad Genius of ‘The Venture Bros.’: TV’s Craziest Cartoon: "...it’s almost impossible to know where to begin if you want to explain the hilarious, incredibly dense, subversive comic book universe that is the long-running Adult Swim cartoon, The Venture Bros.  

The simple answer is this: The show started out as a parody of Jonny Quest, the ’60s cartoon about a boy adventurer and his super-scientist dad. But The Venture Bros. explores a world where there are actual, real-world repercussions to a childhood that was spent battling costumed villains and all manner of super-powered beings with plans for world domination, many of which saw kidnapping him as a means to that end. As you’d expect, Dr. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture has grown up to become a pill-popping, seething cauldron of insecurities and neuroses, resentful of his far more successful father, and wholly unable to get over the fact that he peaked in celebrity and promise as a 12-year-old. He hasn’t “invented” much of anything that isn’t a rehashing of his dad’s now-obsolete 1960s gadgets, and he’s not even a real doctor, clinging to an honorary degree to cover for the fact that he never graduated from college.

In his desperate, pathetic attempt to live up to the life that was both thrust upon him and promised to him, the familial history is repeating itself, this time as comedy. His two sons, Hank and Dean, are emotionally stunted, Hardy Boys-ish goofs, isolated on Dr. Venture’s sprawling compound, homeschooled and socially inept, way too eager to leap into the next battle against Dr. Venture’s many antagonists...

The larger answer to what The Venture Bros. is: It’s a show about failure. Not just Dr. Venture’s personal failures, but also the failures of the ’60s jet age to live up to its promise...

“It’s me voicing my disappointment that we don’t have that kind of magic going on any more, that level of enthusiasm and hope,” creator Jackson Publick said in a Reason interview. “That extends to the kind of cultural stuff that was going on in the ’60s, a youthful generation thinking they could change the world. I’m voicing my displeasure at having been born in a time when some of that magic, for lack of a better word, is gone, and some of those promises that were made in all of our pop culture were never met. My laptop is the coolest thing that’s come out of that. I’m still waiting on my jet pack.”

As writer/producer Doc Hammer added in the DVD commentary to the Season One episode, “Home Insecurity,” failure is the thread that ties all the characters together.  “It’s about that failure happens to all of us,” he said. “Every character is not only flawed, but sucks at what they do, and is beautiful at it and Jackson [Publick] and I suck at what we do, and we try to be beautiful at it, and failure is how you get by...It shows that failure’s funny, and it’s beautiful and it’s life, and it’s OK, and it’s all we can write because we are big failures.” That might scan as bleak or morose, but I guarantee you, The Venture Bros. is a comedy—and a hilarious one at that...

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